Pregnancy and loss (but not pregnancy loss)

So, to finally get to the point of my post yesterday, which was about me being a friend-collector and never wanting to say goodbye to or grow apart from anyone…  Somewhere along this road, I made pregnancy synonymous with friendship loss.

Of course, it started with Monica.  She was one of my closest friends, until she got pregnant soon after I miscarried, and I couldn’t deal.  And I think she couldn’t deal either, because it wasn’t exactly like her pregnancy was in accordance with her life plans, so the last thing she needed was the added stress of trying to play nice with her traumatized friend.  There was nothing we could say to each other that wasn’t awkward at best, heartbreaking at worst.  So we stopped talking to each other, pretty much altogether.

Since then, every time a friend gets pregnant, I am worried that this irreperable loss will be the result.  This is true no matter who the friend is, no matter how much they claim to understand how I feel.  Another one of my good friends is now pregnant (due in July) after suffering a loss last summer.  For a while, she and I were simpatico: we’d both had devastating miscarriages; we both didn’t like being around pregnant women; we both weren’t trying again right away (though I knew she’d be ready long before I was).  We used to get together and compare notes on our other pregnant friends and coworkers.  Now that she’s pregnant, I haven’t seen her in months.  And even though I know she and her husband are busy renovating their new home, there’s a part of me that thinks she must be avoiding me, because if you’re pregnant, and I’m this honest about how I feel about pregnancies, it must be really fucking awkward to be my friend.

I’m also worried about my pregnant fake blog friends getting fed up with me, because as much as I am incapable of not being honest in real life, I am a thousand times more incapable of not being honest here.  Which means that the best I can offer is that “happy for you, sad for me” line.  Which means that I can’t wish for “sticky bean baby dust” in a comment on someone else’s post.  Which means that I will, for the entirety of my friends’ gestations, be reminding them of what it felt like to be where I am, and begging them not to post ultrasound photos, belly shots, or other PTSD trigger images.

And I know that, of everyone in my life, these women understand all those feelings – because they have been here – but part of me still worries that it’ll get old after a while, and they’ll want to surround themselves with a more positive sort of energy than I can offer, and so they’ll let me fall between the cracks.  Or that my own sense of being left behind will take over, and so I’ll stop following and talking to them.

I tearfully told Doug the other day, “All my friends were getting pregnant, so I went and found some friends who couldn’t get pregnant, and then they all got pregnant!”  (This is both an assumption and an exaggeration, but it illustrates how pathetic I feel about the whole situation.)

Another scary possibility is that, if I keep up like this, by the time I get pregnant, no one will want to be happy for me – because I’ve been such shit at being happy for them.  And I already know I’ll have a hard time being happy for myself (for similar guilt-based reasons, plus the anxiety I’m counting on feeling).  When the time comes for me, I’m going to need cheerleaders.  And I’m concerned that I’m slowly but surely pushing all those cheerleaders away.

Basically, I’ve concluded that, somehow or another, I will wind up with no friends.  Fucking fantastic.  I’m going to bed.

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19 Responses to Pregnancy and loss (but not pregnancy loss)

  1. Jason says:

    I promise I will not get pregnant! I will continue to be your friend and will be ecstatic for you when you are ready and do get pregnant!

  2. Arohanui says:

    I think you’re being too hard on yourself.

    As one of your fake blog friends, I can confirm that I won’t mind how you react to my news when I finally do get pregnant (which better bloody well happen or I’ll be pretty pissed off). This doesn’t mean that I won’t be posting stuff, but I can promise, no pee sticks, uss unlikely (they all look like aliens anyway), and no belly shots (what??). I can also guarantee that my blog will not become a baby blog, or a mommy blog, just as it is currently not an infertility blog. However, if I never have a successful pregnancy, it may become a cynical, bitchy, bitter, self-pitying, tragic spinster blog…

    Oh, and I know that sense of being left behind so very well. My ex-partner’s eldest daughter is now pregnant with number two and this time she forgot to tell me in person and I saw the news on Facebook. I hate how jealous I am, and how old it makes me feel.

  3. Vicky says:

    I could have written this myself. I’m not sure if people just feel awkward around me when they get pregnant or if I am just rude and push them away, but it’s always the same result. I envision my future as you do yours.

    I wish I had some real advice or some way of making you feel better. This is a kind of pointless comment really! Maybe I just wanted to thank you for being honest, it made me feel less alone.

  4. Dawn says:

    Captain of the cheer squad reporting. I can even wear my old uniform if you’d like. 🙂

    • Marie says:

      Oh, that’ll be good. Pre-Lilly weight by Lilly’s birthday, pre-Andrew weight by Andrew’s birthday, then high-school-cheerleader weight by Marie’s pregnancy. Let’s do some kickboxing!

  5. Liana says:

    The ALI blogging community is wonderful. You get and receive support from people who truly, truly know what you’re going through. They get it whether you spell it all out or not. And since we’re talking about such deeply personal hurts and failures, to be able to connect with other women who get it is amazing. Where else in life do you find that? The problem is, no one wants to be here. We join this club because we need it, but we don’t want to need it and are desperate to get out of it (though even when you have your baby you’re never really out of it). We cheer our bloggy friends on in the hopes they get out, but once they do, we feel betrayed, left behind. Or if we are the ones who get out, we feel torn because by getting what we’ve ached so long for, we lose the thing that’s connected us to the people who have given us the strength to get that far.

    As someone who has come out the other side, I can tell you that you reach a point where you almost absolutely have to let the negativity go. What you have going on is too much, emotionally and physically, to let yourself do anything but be in the moment. And you’re happy and want to share what’s making you happy. It’s a reasonable want. (If you’ve dealt with loss and infertility, you’re also majorly conflicted, confused and scared out of your brains and want and need to share that too.)

    It’s also reasonable to want to avoid it. If you’re dealing with loss and infertility, being a part of all that can be too much to handle.

    But it’s less reasonable to expect your friends to avoid their own happiness for your sake.

    Here is your challenge: Decide who your bloggy friends are to you. If any of them have crossed over to be real friends (and go ahead and include your real friends in this exercise), it’s time to invoke the annoying platitude “fake it ’til you make it.” Because–and pay attention to this one–pregnancy is a temporary condition. Eventually (when we’re lucky) a baby comes out. And you’re alright with the babies, yes? So just post the nice messages even if you don’t mean them and wait it out. Ask your pregnant friends how they’re doing and tune out the answers. “Fake it ’til you make it.” Keep your friends in your life.

    But that’s only one way to go about things. If you can’t do it, if it doesn’t feel right to you, ignore it.

    • Liana says:

      I want to clarify as I feel I’ve missed a point. You said you can’t help but be honest and I told you to fake it. I think what I’m really trying to say is to hold your tongue a bit. You can type the “happy for you” part and just say to yourself the “sad for me” part. In this community, it’s understood. It’s a given. We all want what the lucky ones get. And it isn’t being dishonest to not say EVERY SINGLE THING you think and feel. It’s being courteous. You aren’t being untrue to yourself by doing it.

      Also, being selfish isn’t a bad thing when you have a real need for it. If you have a real need to pull away from your pregnant friends, do it. But please don’t confuse needing to not deal with pregnancy with not knowing how to deal with it. Eventually you’re going to transition from the one to the other. Recognize it when it happens so you can stop worrying about losing friends and start working on keeping them.

      ALSO, the fact that you’re wondering about how your feelings are affecting how your friends feel about you proves you’re not totally selfish.

      I hope this is coming across the way I mean it. Tone can be so hard to type.

      • Esperanza says:

        I really liked this reply. I’ve been trying to figure out how to respond to this post all day. I do think that while in real life it can be very, very hard to mask our hurt and disappointment and pain when formulating a response to a pregnancy, it can be different when responding to a blog post. Like Liana said, you can write one part and think to yourself the other. Of course people know when you say congratulations that those of us who haven’t made it yet really wish it were us too (not instead but too). But I don’t feel you need to say it, at least not every time. Maybe I’m missing the point though too. I also don’t feel like it’s appropriate to vocalize what parts of a pregnancy you do and don’t want someone to share on their blog. Their blog is their blog and they should be able to share what they want to share. While I do believe friends should be careful and considerate when conversing in real life (as in not whip out an ultrasound shot to show someone who’s lost a pregnancy), on a blog it’s not a conversation between the person and you, it’s between the person and all their readers. And ultimately it’s really just what the person wants to say and we can all participate if we want to.

        I think this probably comes off as harsh. Maybe it is. I remember not being ready to have kids when I wanted to and how hard it was when other people passed me by. I lived that life for many years and it sucked so hard. I didn’t have a divorce or a miscarriage to work through (at the time) so I certainly don’t know where you’re coming from but I have a sense of it. But maybe I don’t. Everyone is different even if they share similar experiences.

        This blog has gotten me thinking more about this stuff than I ever have before. And I’m certain that my response stems from my own disappointments in the way I responded to people’s news when I was in that waiting place of loss and sadness. So thank you for being so honest and bringing this up. And you know what – do whatever you have to do. Be brutally honest. But also be ready for other people to be brutally honest right back at you when it’s your turn. Be ready for them to say, you know what, I am so happy for you but I felt angry that you didn’t feel that way for me and so it’s complicated. I’m sure you’ll understand how complicated it can be. If you’re prepared for those honest responses you should feel do whatever you need to do now.

        I want to end by saying I hope I wasn’t in anyway offensive. Like I said, this brings up a lot of interesting stuff for me. And I’m just trying to work it all out. And I’m not anyone who knows anymore about this than you, so my thoughts don’t really mean all that much anyway. I’m just putting in my two scents. If you’d rather I stopped doing that, let me know and I will be happy to just read and not comment.

      • Marie says:

        Harsh, maybe, but not offensive. Equally honest to what I spout off here daily.

        I told Mo in an email that sometimes I write these things expressing the absolute greatest possible feeling, not the actual/normal/daily feeling. Like, I am afraid of all those things, but not all at once and not all to the utmost degree. I actually deal quite well with the things I prefer not to deal with – but the little part of me that prefers not to deal with them is what feeds these fears.

  6. mommyodyssey says:

    I don’t care if you’re not happy for me once I get pregnant. You’ll be my bitching, bring me back down to reality friend. That’s fine. Just stick around ok?
    *hugs*

  7. Melissa says:

    RA RA SIS BOOM BAH! I will be happy for you I promise!

  8. marriage20 says:

    I think you are being too hard on yourself. All of us feel the pain of being left behind when someone gets pregnant. Also, I think that when you’re grieving a loss, everything else feels even more scary and difficult than normal. Finding this community has been such a wonderful gift in my life. I believe this community will always be here and will always support you, even as individual members may come and go. Hang in there.

  9. Kira says:

    Try to remember the advice you gave me 🙂 Take a walk, get some fresh air and sunshine. Try not to anticipate the future to much. It really sucks to lose friends, but I think infertile people get it. (And like MO said, you are an important aspect of keeping the pregnant folks down to earth!)

    There will be MUCH rejoicing when you are ready to start trying and DO get pregnant.

  10. deepdreamer says:

    I find myself going through this tug-of-war with myself every day. I guess we’ll reach a stage, when we’re ready, where things will fall into place. Until then, we wait…. Yours in waiting x

    • Marie says:

      That’s right. Just you & me, chica. Which is better than it being JUST me, because before I met you, I thought I must be the only person crazy enough to be so traumatized by loss and then CHOOSE not to get pregnant again immediately.

      Hope you’re feeling better over there. Xx

  11. Josey says:

    I’m hoping and praying for a BFP at the end of this 2ww, but that being said, I’d get it if the best you can muster is a “yay for you. hm.” I get it. You get it. We all get it. It sucks to feel “left behind” or “left out.” I’ll continue to be your cheerleader if you continue to be honest about your feelings. It’s a win/win. 🙂

    • Marie says:

      I like it. Thanks. And I hope it for you too, and I will continue hoping it for you until it happens for you, and then the other side will kick in.

      Does anyone remember what it’s like to have non-mixed feelings anymore?

      • Josey says:

        LOL, it’s been nearly 2 years since I’ve had a 100% happy reaction for someone after a BFP – no matter how much they’ve struggled. It’s a fucked up little cheerleading clique we’re in. I work daily on remembering that their BFP isn’t the cause of my BFN.

  12. Pingback: Every little thing, is gonna be alright | Bakery Closed Until Further Notice

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